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Acne is one of the most commonly occurring skin conditions in teenagers and adults. It forms on the surface of the skin, and in any part of the body. Although it occurs when the skin’s pores are blocked by oil and dead skin, you will have it better with the right acne diet than most people.
See, acne occurs when hormones cause your oil glands to produce more oil. Dead skin cells close to your pores’ opening can clog the skin pores when mixed with the oil. When it mixes with bacteria, it could cause severe effects on the skin, which we have all come to understand as acne.
The severity of acne varies from one person to another. Although hormones and biology are partly to blame, your lifestyle and diet play a significant role. Luckily, there is a diet for PCOS acne in women and a diet to reduce acne in everyone.
The major classes of acne include mild, moderate, and severe.
· Mild: A few inflammatory or non-inflammatory lesions.
· Moderate: Less non-inflammatory lesions and more inflammatory ones. The lesions are also painful, hard, and could cause significant scarring.
· Severe Acne: Acne in this category is the hardest to treat and often requires medical intervention to remove. Cysts, for example, is a form of severe acne. Not to worry, you’ll do fine with the diet for severe acne.
Related Read: 6 Types Of Acne Explained
Can Diet Affect Acne?
Acne occurs in different body parts like the chest, neck, upper arms, and back. Interestingly, studies have shown that changing your lifestyle and dietary habits can significantly lessen the effect. For example, a healthy acne diet food that contains vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, and complex carbohydrates or a low carb diet for acne reduces acne breakouts.
During puberty in most people, the human body produces more quantity of Insulin-like growth factor or IGF-1. An increase in the production of this hormone directly influences acne. Unfortunately, some foods can also raise this hormone, and consuming them can help develop and foster acne breakout.
Another thing that you should note is that our skin composition varies from one person to another. As a result, researchers cannot conclusively determine that foods cause acne. However, it is also possible that different foods produce different effects in an assembly of different people.
To rid yourself of acne, it is essential to look at your body as a single entity—i.e. your beauty products, skincare habits, diet, genetics. True, factors like genetics may be out of your control; however, what you eat and when you eat are well within your control and could make all the difference to your skin health.
Keep this in mind when you ask how much does diet affects acne.
What Foods Are Believed To Help Improve Acne?
1. Fish And Healthy Fats
Fish, like salmon, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from this, walnuts and flaxseeds are also excellent sources of healthy fats.
2. Low-Glycemic Foods
Complex carbohydrate foods also reduce the risk of developing acne. You will find them in legumes, whole grains, unprocessed vegetables, and fruits in most cases.
Skin-friendly nuts like almonds and walnuts are rich in Zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. In itself, both nutrients are anti-inflammatory and reduce Cutibacterium acne- the bacteria that causes acne. Plus, they also decrease sebum production considerably.
4. Antioxidant-Rich Vegetables And Fruits
Antioxidants are famous for their anti-inflammatory attributes- a handy effect against acne.
Foods, like yogurt that are rich in probiotics, is another diet that is handy against acne. Probiotics are bacteria or good bacteria that are known to have a positive effect on the gut. As a result, it reduces inflammation.
Plus, the fermentation process decreases growth factor levels (IGF-1) in milk to qualify as anti-acne food.
6. Other Nutrient-Dense Foods
Any food rich in nutrients is one of the most effective ways to combat acne. For example, any food rich in omega-3 acids, antioxidants, and other essential skin-supportive nutrients like vitamin C is effective against acne.
Other skin-friendly foods include fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, high-quality protein, legumes, plant-based dairy alternatives, unsweetened beverages, and anti-inflammatory spices and herbs.
So it is safe to say that healing acne with diet is possible.
What Foods To Avoid For Acne?
Can diet cause acne? Absolutely. Can diet affect acne? You bet. There are certain foods that you should exclude from your diet if you want to control acne. Some of those foods include:
1. Refined Carbs And Foods High In Glycemic Index
Foods with a glycemic index like sugars and refined carbohydrates tend to increase the blood sugar levels. For example, cheese, russet potatoes, white bread, and boxed macaroni can cause a spike in the sugar levels to trigger inflammation.
It can also prompt the body to produce more oil, thereby clogging the pores in the process.
Other foods high in the glycemic index include bread, sweetened cereals like corn flakes, instant cereals, and enriched pasta. Snack foods like popcorn, short-grain rice, and some vegetables like pineapples, melons, and pumpkins are also high in GI.
2. Milk And Dairy Products
Dairy products are also known to cause a spike in releasing growth factors and insulin in the body-both factors that cause breakouts. Whey protein, a milk-derived protein, is also known to cause acne. Instead, you can opt for a non-dairy alternative like almond-based milk fortified with calcium or yogurt.
Chocolate, like milk, is another food that is linked to acne. This is probably due to the high sugar content in chocolate.
4. Fried Foods
Trans and unhealthy saturated fats found in processed baked goods and fried foods are not suitable for acne. This is because they often trigger inflammation. Unlike the widespread belief that cooking with a lot of oil will cause acne, you will only get oil on your skin and could block it if overexposed.
Other foods to avoid include milk and dairy products, highly processed foods, sugary, and sweetened beverages.
What Supplements Can Help Treat Acne?
Supplements, like diet, is another effective way of treating acne. Research has shown that increased intake of certain minerals and vitamins can considerably ease acne.
Some of them include:
Vitamin D is linked to anti-inflammatory properties whose deficiency will likely worsen a case of acne.
Vitamin A is also an effective antioxidant that removes skin-aging radicals from the body. It also aids the healing process and helps to shed clogged skin cells.
Apart from this, Vitamin A promotes red blood cells' production and supports a healthy immune system. Retinoids, a Topical Vitamin A, for example, is one of the remedies used for treating mild and moderate acne.
Vitamin B is another type that most dermatologists recommend for healing wounds, moisturizing the skin, and combating acne.
Vitamin B5 reduces oil production, and B12 reduces acne in some people.
Vitamin C is also handy for reducing inflammatory effects for healthy skin.
Oral Zinc plays another crucial role in reducing acne in some individuals. More than its use for treating acne, Zinc helps with metabolic health, wound repair, reproductive function, and immune health. It works by regulating oil production in the body to prevent the overproduction of oil.
Lentils, cashews, eggs, and chickpeas are excellent sources of Zinc.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is also loaded with antioxidants that help to reduce inflammatory effects. By implication, supplementing it into your diet is an effective way to fight acne.
Although green tea extract is available in various places, it would help if you speak to your physician before use.
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike other types, Omega-3 is a good fat that ensures optimal skin health. Although it helps to keep a healthy heart, it is also effective against skin inflammation. Plus, it reduces the sign of aging.
5. Probiotics And CBD
Probiotics, like the ones found in yogurts, is another suggested supplement for acne. However, the effectiveness of the strain is still much debated.
Another one like it is Cannabidiol. CBD has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that regulate oil production in the skin cells and reduce inflammation.
Supplementing your diet with barberry extract is another way to reduce acne since it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Putting Together An Anti-Acne Diet
True, it can be challenging to put together an anti-acne diet. First of all, you should understand that our bodies respond in different ways to diets.
Keeping a food diary is the most efficient way to monitor and improve your anti-acne diet. Track foods that worsen your breakout and log the severity of the symptoms. You can also add foods that do not trigger your acne.
Keep up this routine for weeks and months with diligence. Whenever you want to visit the dermatologist or doctor, take your food diary along. The essence of this procedure is that your health provider can find the link between your entries and the timing and severity of the breakout.
If your doctor recommends a dietary change, wait until you begin to notice an improvement in your skin. It often takes up to eight weeks before you can record noticeable changes in your body.
General Diet Tips To Control Acne
Smoking And Drinking
Besides a healthy acne diet for clear skin, it is essential to keep a healthy lifestyle. Smoking is associated with several health issues, like heart disease and lung cancer.
Needless to say, it is associated with acne. Hence, not smoking is an effective way to improve your health and reduce acne symptoms.
It will also help if you quit drinking and get enough sleep. Stress contributes to acne breakout and often aggravates the symptoms.
When you are stressed, your body produces more androgen- a hormone that stimulates your sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
Prescriptions and medications are also available to treat acne. In most cases, dermatologists recommend certain drugs for reducing acne.
However, you should only take these medications after consulting with your healthcare provider.
What you use on your skin, although well-meaning, can cause an acne breakout. As a result, you should prioritize personal hygiene and cleanliness. For example, it would help if you wash your face and skin twice a day, especially after sporting activities or sweating. You should also consider the following diet tips for acne.
· Use oil-free cosmetics and skincare products.
· Avoid staying too long in the sun.
· Wash your hair with shampoo.
Don’t touch or pick at your acne. Although it can’t be tempting to burst or scratch your pimples, it is not an effective way of preventing the spread.
Most inflammatory acne contains bacteria in the pus that will spread to the healthy skin surface when you burst them. More severe forms of acne can also lead to scarring when you pick at them.
Since most mild and moderate acne disappears in 4-8 weeks, it would help to exercise some constraints.
Acne breakout will ultimately disappear without any treatment or dietary change. However, when some start to disappear, new ones come to take their place.
More than the physical changes, acne puts a strain on anyone's emotional and psychological wellness, especially teenagers.
Whatever type of acne you have or the severity, acne diet recipes are handy to reduce and prevent the skin condition.
Whatever you choose, be careful not to go overboard and patiently wait for the result. It is never an easy road, but a road worth taking.
Early treatment is the most effective way to improve your confidence, prevent scarring, and improve your looks. But can diet help acne? You should know the answer now.